Thursday, January 31, 2019
Then Jesus poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around Him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” – John 12:5-8
Christ often teaches by way of guided experience, by way of an obedience that in its practice teaches.
Christ introduces Simon Peter to this teaching praxis in the humble act of servanthood, the washing of the dust off the weary feet of the traveler. You find this in His words, “What I am now doing you do not understand in the moment, but afterward when you take time to reflect you will then understand.” Learning by doing, and if you are reluctant to try, learning by way of obedience.
In the Benedictine tradition, obedience is one of the vows. The root of the idea of obedience is not a cowering out of fear but rather a learning by way of listening. To obey means to listen and to listen carefully and thoroughly. And I find this so evident in this verbal exchange between Jesus and Peter … Peter is reacting out of self-will instead of listening to the experience of the Moment.
Listening to the Moment, we are so often too busy to give an attentive ear. Listening to the Moment, we are often so defensive to allow the Moment to express itself. Listening to the Moment, we are often so busy readying our response that so not all the Moment to have its say. Sadly, in the rush of life listening is given lesser importance.
Likewise, we often fail to take the time to listen reflectively to the experience gained in the act of obedience. We rush on to the next item on our agendas without allow the obedient experience to teach what it has to offer. Far, far too often … we rush through life without deeply experiencing the Moments in life. And when we neglect this “period of reflection”, this “momentary sabbath in the flow of events”, we turn a deaf ear to what the experience is trying to teach.
Simon Peter protests in a flash of false humility. “Lord, You will never wash me feet!” To which Christ responds … “Peter, if you are unwilling to experience this Moment then you will never learn what I need from you.”
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz